Many would have stopped reading The Washington Post when the newspaper declared war on AdBlock earlier this month, but Jeff Bezos – he of Amazon and owner of the newspaper in question – and Mark Zuckerberg might have just found a way to draw users back into the fold: the Post announced that it’ll begin publishing 100 per cent of its stories as Facebook Instant Articles.
You’d be forgiven if you haven’t heard of Instant Articles, a news feature that Facebook rolled out to a small fraction of its iOS app users last spring. The service — which has caused no small amount of hand-wringing in the publishing world — currently offers users several hundred articles a day from nine outlets, including the New York Times and BuzzFeed.
But with the Post partnership, news a la Facebook seems poised to expand in a big way. As Recode points out, the Post’s entire output consists of some 1,200 articles daily. And in a blog post published earlier today, Facebook hinted that over a dozen additional publishers could be signing on soon:
We have been testing Instant Articles for the past few months with a small percentage of people on Facebook who see new articles published each day from our launch publishers. This early testing phase allows us to get feedback from people and publishers before extending the program more broadly. Over the coming months we will be expanding the number of people in the Facebook app on iPhone who can see Instant Articles.
We are also announcing today that over a dozen additional partners are joining the program soon. We will bring additional publishers onboard in the coming months, and we look forward to extending the Instant Articles program in the future so that any content publisher or blog can create great article experiences on Facebook.
Folks opposed to the idea of publishers ceding financial power to massive social networks like Facebook will continue to decry the downfall of media, but this is one trend that’s only going to grow in the years to come. Snapchat’s Discover feature has prospered in its own weird way for the better part of a year, Apple recently launched the kinda convenient, kinda chaotic Apple News service in the US, and, as Recode notes, Google and Twitter are each working on their own version of Instant in response to Facebook.
App media is here to stay, and it might even make your life a little more convenient — especially if you don’t feel like turning off AdBlock, leaving Facebook, or paying 99 cent subscription fees. [Recode | The Washington Post | Facebook]